This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III
Length 128 Miles
Flow Range 900 - 50000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 26 minutes ago 1750 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/02/2018 6:31 pm

River Description

*****New Boat Passage Through Green River Diversion (Tusher Dam)*****

As of March 17, 2017, the boat passage is officially open, allowing safe passage for boaters through the Green River Diversion (Tusher Dam). The diversion is located ~ 6 miles upstream from the Town of Green River, in between Swasey’s Boat Ramp and Green River State Park Campground. The rehabilitation project removed the keeper hydraulic that was present below the dam at high flows, and incorporated a boat passage in the center of the dam to improve passage at low flows.


Boater Warning Signs: Warning signs are located at Swasey’s Boat Ramp and directly upstream (300 feet) of the portage trail. The signs indicate the location of the boat passage (CENTER OF DIVERSION) and portage trail (RIVER LEFT). If the boat passage is closed then the signs will read, “CAUTION Boat Chute Closed Use Portage Trail”.

Portage Trail: The portage trail and emergency boat landing are both located ~ 300 feet upstream of the diversion structure on RIVER LEFT. The trail will be maintained to be 15 feet wide, and will be on an existing two track road that skirts around the diversion dam site.

Boat Passage: The boat passage is located in the CENTER of the diversion structure, between two indicator boulders. The passage is designed to be fully functioning at flows greater than 1,300 cfs; if flows drop significantly lower than 1,300 cfs then it is possible the boat passage will not be navigable. At high water, the indicator boulders may be submerged. Given the varying conditions, it is recommended to scout the boat passage before continuing downstream.

If you have concerns about the safety or maintenance of the boater warning signs, portage trail, and/or boat passage (including debris build up), please call Eli Tome with UT Division of State Lands at (435) 210-0362.


River Description

The Green River through Desolation and Gray Canyons is a popular multiday float trip, known for its easy rapids, nice scenery,  varied wildlife sightings, moderate hiking and interesting historical locations. Most of the run is flatwater floating. Two rapids are in the class 3 range, while all others are class 2 or less. 

The canyon is called Desolation in comparison to the much greener sections upstream. Compared to sections further downstream or the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, this canyon has lots of greenery. Because of the dam controlled flows, the banks of the river are dense with brush. It can be difficult to find easy routes through the brush to get past the rivers edge. This also limits the locations that boaters can pull over and land. During low flow periods, there are many nice sand bars and beaches on which to land and camp. Sticky mud can be a problem at some locations. 

There are no rapids from Ouray to about 15 miles past Sand Wash, so most river trips start at Sand Wash rather than Ouray. Still, if one has the time, enjoys slow floats with occasional views of oil derricks, and likes to watch the landscape change, it can be nice to launch near Ouray.  

Put-in: Sand Wash is the most used put-in and all boaters must check in with the BLM ranger stationed there.  Even if you launch up near Ouray, you must stop at Sand Wash to have the ranger check your permits.

Click here for permit information.

Watch the BLM Video to learn more about the run.

Harry Dundore writes in 2011:       DESOLATION & GRAY CANYONS:  25,000 cfs VS 5,000 cfs

We'll call 25,000 high water (about average) and 5,000 low water (above average) for the sake of this overview. It is boatable on either side of these ranges, with precautions.

High Water is typically the last week of May to the middle of June. Varies on snow pack and local temps in the feed areas, Yampa being the primary feeder. River is bank-full, expect hard landings at camps and some camps may be inaccessible. Watch out for sharp beaver cuttings at landings. Mosquitoes every bit as bad as the Florida Everglades. Definitely reserve a screen cabin at Sand Wash put-in. A screen tent for the group and mosquito netting for the groover also highly recommended. Bugs are much worse in camp than on the river (almost nonexistent river center), more motivation for that early start. Bugs are not as bad in Gray as in Deso. Expect snow into mid-May at the very least. Also expect daily rains and afternoon up-steam winds, get an early start to help beat the winds and find good camps (9 launches per day!!, that's 130 to 225 people per day!!!, 70 to 110+ boats!!!), the river will be fairly crowded and competition for camps fierce. Sending fast boats ahead to secure campsites is against BLM regs, will make you no friends on the river, and will result in your group leader loosing permit privileges if someone gets your boat number. A Ute tribal permit for river left highly recommended and cheap! You will want one of these to camp, hike or collect firewood on river left (a life saver at any flow). Much of the cool stuff to see and many good camps are on the Ute side of the river! Research the petroglyphs on the shuttle in from Wellington (Nine Mile Canyon), cool stuff.

The Rapids- The Class II's in Deso Canyon will be big wavetrains. The II's in Gray Canyon will be not as big but more technical than Deso.

The "Big Four Rapids":

Joe Hutch Canyon (aka Cow Swim) - Class IV. After passing Joe Hutch Creek Rapid, as soon as you see the strainer, pull over on river right and scout (follow the trail). After a 20,000+ cfs debris flow from the side canyon in the Fall of '08 this rapid has changed!!! Definitely a class IV at this flow! Strainer river right, BIG hole river center (created by the "golf ball rock" (more later), HUGE wavetrain river left. Come in hard left, set up to pull HARD right as soon as you pass the hole (just about at the base of the first wave) to miss the wavetrain (the third wave will flip even 16' boats!!). If you flip in the wavetrain, the swim will put you into one of the two traps on the left wall (not pretty). Set up throw bags and chase boats on the rock shelf and the eddie on river left at the bottom of the rapid (not the nasty, escape-proof eddie in the middle), rescue is not possible from river right!! If you fail to set up safety on river left, swimmers will take the S-bend to McPherson Ranch before self rescue is possible. Smaller craft can line, sneak or portage on river right. Good camps on both sides of the river here, although the beautiful camp on river right had all the sand on the beach washed out in spring of 2011, leaving behind softball sized cobbles, and the camp on river left is considerably smaller now. It may take a few low flow years to replace these.

Wire Fence - Class III. Gets washed out at these flows. Very straight forward class III read-and-run. One fatality on this one in 2011, so be respectful of it and pay attention to what your guidebook says.

Three Fords - Class II/III+. Scout from river right!!!! AVOID THE CENTER!!!! Several very large boulders create pour-overs and big holes there that cannot be seen from upstream (until it's too late). A class II sneak on far river left (easy!!). I'm not sure when this sneak disappears, but I'd guess it's at about 10 to 12K. The hero line (III+) is down river right, big wavetrain with holes. This is a LONG swim (1/2 mile) if you mess up at the top !!! (I know!!!).

Coal Canyon - Class III. A straight forward, fairly steep, long, read-and-run class III with big waves and multiple holes. Keep your eyes open!!!

Low Water:  Typically August and September, the weather begins to seriously deteriorate in October. If you go in mid September, check out the "Melon Fest" in Green River City, best melons you ever ate!! Good news is - the bugs are GONE!!!! (Don't expect them to be gone before at least August!!!) The meat bees are a slight pain in the you-know-what in camp, keeping your trash in a dedicated dry bag away from the kitchen area will go a long way toward peace and happiness for everyone. The river is a much slower flow, bigger pools and steeper drops. Plan on 8 days if you can (or do a lot of rowing)!! Your first 2 days will be flat water. The middle and lower sections will have braided channels that will require attention to both the river and your updated guide books (I highly recommend the new RiverMaps version, no more Deseret scale, which was ambiguous at best). More camps are available this time of year. Sandbar camps, once plentiful, were mostly washed out in the spring of 2011, as were the camps at both Gold Hole bends (how could a river have 2 Gold Holes within miles of each other??, more on that later.). It may take several low flow years to replace these. Other good news is, only one or two launches per day!! More wildlife, more solitude, no problems finding camps. The shuttle in from Wellington can be VERY slow (10 mph or less) due to weekly flash floods washing out the road, especially in the last, long stretch known as "The Wiggles". Recommend shuttling in from Myton instead. Not as scenic, but much smoother, and probably faster in the long run. This is flash flood season so be sure to stake boats high and plan for a several foot range of river level change overnight (probably won't happen, but this stretch flashes about once a week this time of year, so plan for the improbable). Plan camps ABOVE side canyons. Camp above the Price River confluence your last day as this one is the major flash flood offender.

The Rapids -  The class II's in Deso will be mere riffles. The class II's in Gray will be a little technical and starting to get boney. Watch out for "sneaker rocks" (wrap, pin, stick hazards) on ALL rapids. The sun will be in your eyes, making them really hard to see.

The "Big Four Rapids":

Joe Hutch Canyon (aka Cow Swim) - Class III at this flow. Always scout this one and always set up safety!! Read above for scout and rescue. Joe Hutch starts to mellow out at about 16,000, but never underestimate it. At low flow it will be a little tricky but much easier than at high water. From the scout, the entrance chute will look very narrow. But it's actually about three times the width it appears from the scout. Class III, enter left of the "Golf Ball Rock" (you'll know it when you see it, if you scout it), avoid the sharp rocks on river left; the big hole at the bottom of the rapid, just before the wall, would be good to miss too, but runnable if you are on your game. Traps are not nearly as bad as at high water, but still to be respected. The middle eddie on river left is no longer a trap. Set up safety same as above or your swimmers will take the S-bend to McPherson Ranch.

Wire Fence - Class III. A BIG drop with a hole at the bottom. Stay left, read-and-run. Fairly safe wash-out for swimmers. One fatality on this one in 2011, so be respectful of it.

Three Fords - Class III+/IV. The biggest low-water rapid for sure. Scout directions above. Always scout this one. At low water, the hero run is the only line. Enter right (current pulls deceptively hard to the right at the top), drop, big hole and wave, second drop, big hole and wave, wavetrain, huge hole at the bottom. You have to take the first two holes; plan on missing the last! (Can't tell you how many folks I've heard say "that wasn't the line I planned!!" on this one, including me). Small craft can line/drag on river left.

In Between and Below:  Extrapolate the above as you like. This river changes at different flows. This should only serve as an example of the river at two very different levels. Two very different rivers really. At flows below 5,000, I can only imagine things getting boney and technical but still very doable. I would recommend smaller boats and lighter gear for sure. The BLM says Deso/Gray is boatable down to 800 cfs (drought years) in 16' rafts . Not my dream trip. 2011 figures (a big water year) are 44,000+ (I wouldn't recommend anything over 30K) to 5,500 (really nice) for the boating year. Average is 20K to 25K high and 4K to 2K low, totally doable at either end. Permits are pretty easy to get if you are flexible, watch the on-line calendar, and call on time. Be sure to double check the "required equipment list". The rangers at Sand Wash are great folks but sticklers for detail.

Other Beta:    Green River State Park Campground in Green River City, Utah is a good place to organize your boaters from around the country, do last minute shopping (no dry ice), and set shuttle for unneeded vehicles (only 8 miles to take-out). Be sure to tell the camp host that you are doing Deso, not Labyrinth, or he'll hassle you over permits. Reservations usually not necessary unless you go in mid-September during Melon Fest weekend. Avoid Green River City (and Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons) on Memorial Day weekend - "The Friendship Cruise" brings in hundreds of power boaters for the run down the Green and up the Colorado to Moab. Be sure to catch the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River City!! About 3 hours worth of great entertainment including original and replica boats and a really cool movie about JWP's first run!!! (and what a first run!!!). Ray's Tavern is definitely the place to eat and enjoy a hand crafted Utah beer on tap. Waitress (group of 15) - "Hey hun, this ain't my first Rodeo!!" This is the traditional spot for that "gotta have a cheeseburger and a draft after the trip." Good food!!! There are several chain hotels in Green River, depending on what you want to spend. We like the Knights Inn as a compromise between quality and price ( can save you up to $20), avoid the Book Cliffs Lodge. Starting in 2012, no dogs will be allowed on Deso-Gray.

Harry Dundore         Utah Stream Team


------------------------------------------------ Electric-Mayhem posted on Boater Talk:

I can give a vague general idea of the trip. First off, BRING LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF BUG SPRAY!!! I have never seen more mosquitoes then I have on Deso. I would very highly recommend bringing at least a bug net for your head, if not a full bugnet suit. Sandwash, the put-in, is the worst spot for it. I'd also bring a tent for sure, just for protection from bugs. I tried sleeping outside one night and it was horrid.

There is a bit of flatwater at the top, which takes most of the first day. It's fairly leisurely, though, don't have to paddle too much. The rest of the trip is mostly class II "run-it-down-the-tongue" kinda rapids. There are a couple of class-III rapids called Wire Fence and Three Fords that offer up a bit more challenge. The trip takes 5-ish days, and it's an awesome area. It's a good first trip for the timid, as it's plenty long, the camping is good, as are side activities such as hiking and the like. There is some good play on it and it's a great one to take kids on.
The shuttle is a bit fun or a bit long depending on how you look at it and how you do it. You can either drive your vehicles to this airstrip near the takeout, and they fly you back to the top and drop your cars off the day you take out, or you can just do it the old-fashioned way and do a real shuttle. It's a pretty long drive between the takeout and putin.
Regardless, it's an awesome trip. Awesome canyons, great water and if you do it right, great friends. It's a great one to start off on, and I can nearly guarantee that it will get you hooked on Canyonlands-style trips.  Definitely a fun trip and I would definitely check it out if you get the chance.

A Fall trip in late September and October of 2006, had few problems with bugs, although meat bees and wasps were a problem during launch preparations at the wildlife refuge north of Ouray.

Other Interesting links:
Stratigraphy/Geology of Desolation and Gray Canyons
Ouray National Wildlife Reguge
Redrock Adventure has an interesting discourse on various aspects of river running in Desolation.

Photo galleries:
River Trip Deso-Stikine
Photographs from the Powell expeditions
River Guide to Desolation and Gray Canyons; by Thomas Rampton

Karen Hensley shared on 2004-06-16:
Here is a list of GPS waypoints for this stretch that I compiled from maps. If anyone else can add more, that would be appreciated. Accuracy/Correctness of data is not known, so use these in conjunction with other navigational techniques, and let us know if you have any corrections.
39.83913,-109.91542,Sand Wash (Put In)
39.79246,-109.91876, Little Horse Bottom
39.78579,-109.92653, Maverick Bottom
39.78469,-109.88126, Gold Hole
39.7444,-109.94848, Rock House Bottom
39.7369,-109.95209, Little Rock House Riffle
39.6994,-109.99459, Jack Creek
39.69857,-109.99292, Jack Creek Rapids
39.68997,-110.01042, Lunts Horse Pasture
39.6769,-109.98709, Big Canyon Rapids
39.66246,-109.98626, Firewater Rapids
39.66238565,-109.9867268, Firewater Rapids & Canyon
39.65329,-109.9907, Cedar Ridge Rapids
39.6525497,-109.9922555, Cedar Ridge Rapids
39.63544237,-110.0072333, Flat Canyon & Rapids
39.63358,-110.00681, Flat Canyon Rapids
39.5919,-110.02598, Wild Horse Rapids
39.57303,-110.03514, Steer Ridge Rapids
39.54136,-110.02959, Rock Creek Rapids
39.5208,-110.02542, Snap Canyon Rapids
39.50703025,-110.0233585, Three Canyon Rapids
39.47071689,-110.0220877, Chandler Falls
39.45497,-110.01542, Trail Canyon Rapids
39.43774811,-110.0221189, Bull Canyon Rapids
39.42191,-110.02098, Moonwater Rapids
39.42053,-110.01514, Red Point Rapids
39.40782792,-110.0129313, Joe Hutch Creek rapid
39.39386,-110.01903, Joe Hutch Canyon Rapids
39.3808,-110.0157, McPherson Ranch
39.37497,-110.02403, Florence Creek
39.35136,-110.02709, Three Fords Rapids topozone map, google map
39.31661273,-110.0584221, Last Chance Rapids
39.31608,-110.0582, Last Chance Rapids
39.30719,-110.05209, Range Creek Rapids
39.28441,-110.07264, Rabbit Valley Rapids
39.2708,-110.0732, Curry Rapids
39.2633,-110.0607, Saleratus Rapids
39.24083502,-110.0586828, Poverty Rapids
39.21847349,-110.0782339, Rattlesnake Rapid

(from Nefertiti to Swasey's boat ramp is the 8 mile section called the Green River Daily)
39.19574859,-110.0782761, Nefertiti (road access)
39.17949984,-110.1057417, Price River
39.17941,-110.10626, Price River
39.15747,-110.11181, Butler Canyon
39.15209688,-110.1150693, Sand Knolls rapid
39.15053,-110.11598, Sand Knolls Canyon
39.14027767,-110.1013436, Stone Cabin Rapid
39.12823753,-110.1129037, Short Canyon rapid
39.11360184,-110.1091084, Log Cabin Rapid
39.11360184,-110.1091084, Swaseys Rapids google map
Boat Ramp below Swasey's Rapids, topozone map
Alternate access at Green River State Park, topozone map

Rapid Descriptions

Wildlife Refuge launch area

Class - N/A Mile - -6.5

This boat ramp adds 6 or 7 miles of scenic flatwater compared to launching at the bridge in Ouray.    In the evening we did hear the bugleing of elks, so that was nice. 

From highway 88 turn east and north on Wildlife Refuge road till you come to the river and a fairly obvious area with dirt ramps down to the water. 

Ouray Bridge boat ramp

Class - N/A Mile - 0

There are large parking areas and boat ramps on river left at the highway 88 bridge, on both upstream and downstream sides.     

Sand Wash

Class - N/A Mile - 30

This is the standard put in location.   All boaters must get their permits checked by the ranger here.  

Little Rock House Riffle

Class - I Mile - 46
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Jack Creek Rapids

Class - II Mile - 55
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Big Canyon Rapid

Class - II Mile - 57
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Joe Hutch Rapid

Class - III+ Mile - 84
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

This rapid changed from a class 2 to a class 3, after a flash flood on the side creek, August 6, 2008.    At high flows expect to deal with class 4 waves. 

McPherson Ranch

Class - N/A Mile - 85
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

An abandoned tourist ranch on river left makes for an interesting short hike and exploration. 

Wire Fence Rapid

Class - III Mile - 93.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Three Fords Rapid

Class - III Mile - 94
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

This being one of the hardest rapids on the river, many people scout here.   Easiest scout appears to be on river right, while the easiest sneak routes or portage appear to be on river left.   The hero line through the rapid is on the right while easier lines appear to be on the left.

Boat Ramp below Swaseys

Class - N/A Mile - 110
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

This large and paved boat ramp is a standard take out.    The ramp is obvious on river left as you exit Swaseys rapid.   Long term parking is in a separate area about 100 yards down the road.


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Simon Krzych
7 years ago

Did the daily section on July 31st 2013. Great float with beautiful scenery and wildlife.

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10 years ago

Note that "Wire Fence" rapid is not on the GPS list below.

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Mark Singleton
11 years ago

Bring a bug suit!

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12 years ago

Video of our Kayaking trip at

Gage Descriptions

The gauge is at the end of the trip and will normally show the total flow in the river.  During large rain events, the gauge can read higher than actual flows encountered early in the run. All side streams encountered on this reach are quite small. 

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2011-05-31 High Fatality Other Read More
2007-06-06 n/a Fatality Other Read More




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AW Joins Recreation Groups In Support of Emery County Public Lands Act

Evan Stafford

American Whitewater joins the Outdoor Alliance, Access Fund, The Conservation Alliance, and Outdoor Industry Association in support of the proposed Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018. Legislators actively engaged the recreation community and AW has been working for several years to make sure the Act does as much as it can to protect whitewater recreation and rivers in Utah, including designating a section of the Green River as Wild and Scenic. We are happy to report that the bill is moving forward and that if passed will designate 63 miles of the Green River, including Labyrinth Canyon as a Wild and Scenic River. 

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Bill Introduced to designate new Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers (UT)

Nathan Fey

Washington, DC –  Today, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative John Curtis (UT-3) introduced the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018, a historic conservation bill protecting over one million acres of public land, and 98 miles of Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers in Utah’s Emery County. American Whitewater worked to ensure that the Green River, Muddy Creek, and the San Rafael are protected under the legislation.

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AW Files Protest in latest Green River Pipeline Application (UT)

Nathan Fey

Browns Park, Utah - American Whitewater has asked the Utah Division of Water Resources to reject the latest attempt to pump water from Utah's Green River, and send it across the Rocky Mountains to Denver and Colorado's Front Range. The Water Rights Export Application is speculative and assumes availability of water with no consideration of impacts to downstream needs. In its letter, American Whitewater urges the Division to act with prudence and reject the application. 

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Utah to develop Management and Mineral Leasing plans for Green & Colorado Rivers

Nathan Fey

The State of Utah is developing the first comprehensive management plans for state-owned sections of the Colo­rado and Green Rivers, and updating the existing Mineral Leasing Plan for these state lands. This effort will determine how these rivers are managed and where mining, oil, gas, and hydrocarbon leases will be allowed. Paddlers are encouraged to speak up!

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Green River Boat Passage Officially Open! - UT

Kestrel Kunz

American Whitewater staff traveled to Green River, UT in late March to meet with private water users and state agencies, and to participate in the official opening of the new boat passage through the Green River Diversion (Tusher Dam). Completion of the boat passage has freed the Green River from its last in-stream obstruction between the Flaming Gorge Dam and the confluence with the Colorado River – over 400 floatable river miles through iconic canyons and historic landmarks. It has a been a long process, and our work isn’t over yet! As your boating representative, American Whitewater will continue to work closely with the dam operators and Utah’s Division of State Lands (FFSL) to ensure that the boat passage meets the needs of the public during its inaugural year.

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Update on boat passage at Utah's Tusher Dam

Nathan Fey

As re-construction of the Tusher Dam and boat chute on Utah's Green River comes to a close this month, American Whitewater is working with the State of Utah and US Natural Resources Conservation Serivice to provide updates on the Project. Here's the latest news on installation of boater warning signs, and the ‘Flow Allocation Agreement’ which commits flows for recreation at the boat chute.


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Safe Boating Passage Through Tusher Dam (UT) Is Threatened By New Conflict

Kestrel Kunz

The Green River, from the Flaming Gorge Dam to its confluence with the Colorado River, is known for its beautiful and iconic multiday paddling trips enjoyed by boaters and anglers. For as long as any of us can remember, the only man-made obstruction to boaters and fish on this stretch has been the Green River Diversion Dam (i.e., Tusher Dam), located just over 6 miles upstream of the town of Green River, UT and more than 120 miles above its confluence with the Colorado River. Since it was first built in 1913, the Tusher Dam and the keeper hydraulic it created forced boaters to either portage around it or run the unsafe hazard, while negatively affecting fish migration patterns.

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Tell the NRCS Thank You for the successful Green River Diversion Project.

Nathan Fey

American Whitewater is pleased to announce the successful completion of the Green River Dam rehabilitation project. This is a big win for the Green River and we want to thank our partners at the NRCS for their role.

Please take a second to sign our thank-you letter and tweet your thanks for a successful project!

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Final Decision released for Green River Diversion Project

Nathan Fey

Green River, Utah - The Natural Resources Conservation Service published it's Record of Decision (ROD) on the Green River Diversion Project this week, which serves as the final agency decision on whether Tusher Dam will be reconstructed with Fish and Boat Passage.  Thanks to paddler input, the agency has decided to include a water right and a boat chute to ensure paddlers have safe passage through the dam.

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Plans for Green River Diversion Project Released (UT)

Nathan Fey

Green River, Utah - The final proposed action for rehabilitating the Green River/Tusher Canyon Diversion Structure has been released for public review.  Thanks to overwhelming support from the public during the public comment period, downstream boat passage is included in the plan.

Thank you for sending in your comments - we did it!

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Help Secure Boat Passage on the Green River, Utah!

Nathan Fey

Green River, Utah - The Tusher Canyon Diversion Dam is being rehabilitated by the NRCS after historic flooding damaged the structure. AW has been working to ensure that safe boat passage is incorporated into the project, and new boat passage has been added to the final NEPA alternatives.  Now, we need paddlers to send comments that support the boat passage alternative.  Please send your letters before April 30!

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NRCS Announces 2nd Public Comment Period for Green River Diversion Project

Nathan Fey

Green River, Utah - The Natural Resource Conservation Service is soliciting public comments on the proposed reconstruction of the Tusher Canyon Diversion Structure, an historic dam just downstream of Swasey's Rapid on the Green River. AW has asked that the NRCS prepare a full Environmental Impact Study for the project, which could include new boat passage at the dam site.  A 2nd comment period is now open, and comments are due by June 28th.

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Changes Proposed for Desolation and Gray Canyon Permitting

Megan Hooker

The Bureau of Land Management is currently receiving comments on proposed changes to the river permitting system for the Desolation and Gray Canyons of Utah's Green River. The proposed changes change the reservation process from call-in to an online lottery. Comments are due November 10th. For more details and to see the plan...


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FERC Denies Flaming Gorge Pumpback Request for Re-Hearing!

Nathan Fey

Green River, WY - On May 17th, FERC denied a request from WyCo Power and Water for a re-hearing of it's proposed Regional Watershed Supply Project (Project No. 14263-001). FERC's order officially closes the FERC permitting process for the speculative project which proposed to pump 250,000 acre-feet of water from the Green River, to Colorado's Front Range cities over 500 miles away. American Whitewater and several of our partners in the conservation community worked hard to defeat the proposal.

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2012 Most Endangered Rivers Report Released

Thomas O'Keefe

Today, American Rivers released the annual report on America's Most Endangered Rivers. American Whitewater has partnered with American Rivers in past years in identifying threatened rivers, and this year we are working together to highlight threats to the Skykomish River in Washington and the Green River in Utah.

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American Whitewater Weighs in on BLM Oil Shale and Tar Sands Plan

Nathan Fey

The Bureau of Land Management is considering the potential for oil shale and tar sands development on 2,431,000 acres of public land in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. This development could threaten the quality of paddling experiences including the multi-day desert floats on Desolation and Grays Canyons of the Green as well as the adventure available for kayaks and packrafts to explore the San Rafael, Muddy and Escalante. American Whitewater partnered with our colleagues in the Outdoor Alliance to highlight the value of these areas for outdoor recreation.

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Tell the Obama Administration to take Desolation Canyon out of its Crosshairs!

Nathan Fey

Vernal, Utah - On March 16, the Interior Department issued the Gasco natural gas project final environmental impact statement and took one step closer to approving this massive development project which would include 215 new wells in the Green River's Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness.  Fortunately, there is still time for you to weigh in and tell Secretary Salazar to protect Desolation Canyon!  The BLM hasn’t issued its ‘record of decision’ for the Gasco project and can still change its mind about which alternative to adopt. 

Tell Secretary Salazar to protect the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness!

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BLM to Approve Gas Drilling in Green River basin - Desolation Canyon

Nathan Fey

Vernal, Utah - The Bureau of Land Management has approved a large-scale oil and natural gas development project in the Green River basin. The project, proposed by Gasco, includes nearly 1,300 new gas wells in the area, including more than 200 new wells in the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness and gateway areas. The project will have irreversible impacts on the iconic tributaries, and wilderness-character of the Green River's iconic canyons. Photo: Tobias Schunck

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FERC Dismisses Preliminary Permit for Flaming Gorge Pipeline

Nathan Fey

Colorado/Wyoming - Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dismissed Wyco Power and Water Inc.'s Preliminary Permit Application for the proposed Regional Watershed Supply Project, also know as the Flaming Gorge Pumpback. The Regional Watershed Supply Project was proposed to include seven hydropower projects and a  501-mile water pipeline that would extend from Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River in Wyoming to a proposed reservoir near Pueblo, Colorado. This is a major succes in AW's efforts to preserve the Green and Colorado Rivers!

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AW Intervenes in Opposition to the Flaming Gorge Pumpback Proposal

Nathan Fey

Colorado - American Whitewater has filed a Motion to Intervene in Opposition to the Regional Watershed Supply Project Preliminary Permit Application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Joining us in our effort to protect the Green River from the project (aka Flaming Gorge Pumpback), is American Rivers and the Colorado River Outfitters Association.

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Flaming Gorge Pipeline Moves Forward with FERC Application

Nathan Fey

Wyoming/Colorado - Proponents of the 501-mile long pipeline that will send water from the Green River in Wyoming, to Colorado's Front Range, have submitted an Application for a Preliminary Permit with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The project, known as the "Flaming Gorge pipeline," had been under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for more than two years until the agency canceled it's environmental review. New plans for the pipeline now include hydropower production, requiring FERC to issue the permit.

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Regional Watershed Supply Project - Update

Nathan Fey

The US Army Corps of Engineers announced two additional meetings and an extension of the scoping comment period for the RWSP, also known as the Green River Pumpback. One of the proposed benefits of the RWSP, the largest water project in Colorado's history, is the mitigation of future pressure on the Upper Colorado River and the state's western slope rivers.  With the recent ACOE announcement, western slope communities will have a chance to review and comment on the proposed project. The comment period has been extended until July 27, 2009 and two additional scoping meetings will be conducted in both Grand Junction and Craig, Colorado.

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Public Scoping Announced for Green River Pumpback

Nathan Fey

Green River, Wyoming - After much anticipation, the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has announced the first set of public meetings on thecontroversial Regional Watershed Supply Project (RWSP)--also known as the Green River or Flaming Gorge Pumpback. The Project proposes to remove up to 250,000 acre-feet of water from the Green River at Flaming Gorge, sending it east through 500 miles of pipelines to Colorado's Front Range. The project also proposes two new reservoirs for Colorado's Front Range. The ACOE will be holding several meetings to describe the project, the NEPA process, and to solicit input on the issues and alternatives to be evaluated before permiting the RWSP.

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AW Protests Oil and Gas Leases Scheduled for Auction in Southern Utah

Mark Singleton

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the regulatory agency that manages many of the leases necessary to drill for oil and gas on public land, is planning an auction of parcels in southern Utah that has the potential to impact iconic southwestern rivers. American Whitewater has joined with the Utah Rivers Council, outfitters and other business owners to protest specific parcels scheduled for auction on December 19th.

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Gas Drilling Proposed in Desolation and Grey Canyons (UT)

Kevin Colburn

Comments are need by May 1 on a massive, 3-decades-long, gas drilling project proposed for Desolation and Gray Canyons.  This proposed project would impact the first thirty four miles of Desolation Canyon, an area renowned for its remoteness, its unimpaired beauty and its wilderness characteristics.  The BLM anticipates major impacts if the project moves forward.

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Support Wild and Scenic Rivers in Utah

Kevin Colburn

The US Forest Service is conducting a statewide suitability study to determine which of the outstanding rivers in Utah’s National Forests should be protected as Wild and Scenic Rivers.  The Forest Service is recommending that 24 of the 86 rivers that have been identified as eligible for designation should be formally recommended for Wild and Scenicdesignation.  Let them know what you think by February 15th.

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Oil and Gas Leases Threaten Desolation

Jason Robertson

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />American Whitewater has joined the Outdoor Industry Association and Outward Bound in formally protesting oil and gas leases that threaten the recreational experience in Utah's Desolation Canyon on the Green River. The development threatens potential wild and scenic designation, and the recreational experience of thousands of whitewater boaters.


Matt Muir


Paul Martzen


Thomas O'Keefe


Kestrel Kunz


Nathan Fey

Colorado Stewardship Director


Bill Hunt


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191648 09/05/08 n/a n/a
1197472 03/30/10 Paul Martzen
1197473 03/30/10 Paul Martzen
1196489 11/14/09 Thomas O'Keefe
1198826 11/30/10 Thomas O'Keefe permit update
1207941 07/09/17 Kestrel Kunz Reach # fixed
1201214 04/23/12 Paul Martzen Dundore notes
1202499 08/01/13 Nathan Fey
1202500 08/01/13 Nathan Fey
1202535 08/06/13 Thomas O'Keefe photo change
1202989 01/04/14 Thomas O'Keefe permit update
1203125 03/04/14 Matt Muir Changed permit info.
1203844 11/25/14 Thomas O'Keefe BLM video link added
1208381 10/18/17 Kestrel Kunz
1210550 12/02/18 Thomas O'Keefe permit link updated
1210551 12/02/18 Thomas O'Keefe permit edit
1207044 12/05/16 Thomas O'Keefe permit updated
1206824 09/09/16 Bill Hunt mentioned the daily section
1207426 04/06/17 Kestrel Kunz New Boat Passage Through Tusher Dam!